An innovative audio and branding experience for one of Belfast’s key historical buildings
After the tragic 2018 fire of the iconic Bank Buildings in Belfast City centre, there was catastrophic damage to the nearby commercial units, including 2 Royal Avenue. This beautiful structure once managed by Tescos, features a period style glass dome roof, interior arches and swathes of space.
The building sat unoccupied for over 3 years, like a crypt that was further doomed by the lockdowns to come. Later in 2021, Belfast City Council decided to revitalise the interior and breathe new life into the neighbourhood. They brought in the help of Little Fox Events to reimagine the space as a functioning and welcoming cultural space for the community to enjoy music, markets, workshops, or just somewhere quiet to have a coffee.
We worked closely with Little Fox and the Council to help them create an entirely new brand identity and an audio experience that brings the building and the space to life.
We delivered three components of the development
Inspired by the ambition of the Eden project, Belfast City Council and Little Fox Events wanted to create a place to stop and breathe amongst the hustle bustle of the city centre. Following stakeholder discussions and workshops, we discovered that the branding needed to reflect a number of key personalities and ideas. The building itself has a long history in the heart of the city centre, it is perfectly positioned to be a meeting hub, and it has strong architectural features which we wanted to celebrate and draw attention to.
Little Fox wanted to create a rich and immersive experience that brought the great outdoors to the great indoors. The space is inspired by nature and features a lot of organic foliage, so we were briefed to design and produce a soundscape that brought elements of nature and wildlife to the forefront.
We designed a multi-layered, fully procedural system that is affected by the time of day and never repeats itself. The final result was a standalone software application that could be easily booted up and used to generate an organic ambience, with a simplified user interface.
Little Fox designed a chillout area for small groups that features a geodesic dome with lush foliage and ornate wooden structures. For this space we generated a suite of ambient music pieces inspired by artists such William Basinksi, Brian Eno and Taylor Deupree.
Using reverberant piano, electric piano, synthesisers and granular processing, we developed long, semi repeating phrases to create a lush and warm feeling. We leveraged textural shifts by deactivating and swapping layers to draw in listeners with a somewhat hypnotic effect, yet create a sense of evolution throughout the day.
With a bit of thoughtfulness it’s possible to breathe new life into old spaces. A once desolate concrete space was reinvigorated with form, foliage, deep colours, vibrant sound and curiosity.
The opportunity to approach a space or a project from this specific multidisciplinary perspective is not something that is readily considered by stakeholders, however with enough care it’s possible to create a visceral and memorable experience.